A Pyrrhic Defeat

Posted: November 15, 2010 in Uncategorized

So, despite getting a good 2,500 words out on Friday, it’s become clear that this is not the year for Nanowrimo.

It’s not a lack of quantity of writing time, which I’ve actually found it easier than expected to sneak away for… but it’s the quality of the time. Most of the time I’ve seized has been of the “boys, go to quiet time and let me be” type. Which somehow they parse as “boys, go to quiet time for a few minutes before thinking of something to come in and bug me about.” And one thing that I’m learning through this return to writing is that interrupted writing time isn’t good writing time.

I’ve been diagnosed before with sleep apnea, and they found this by doing a sleep study. Normal people sleep in a cycle that brings them to microconsciousness about five to seven times a night, allowing their sleep to build a good head of momentum. I woke up about two thousand times in the course of a night. Similarly, apparently writing requires me to get that momentum going without constant distraction (and you know, Readers, I am easily distracted… squirrel!)

The other time I used to write successfully was at night, when everyone’s asleep. Unfortunately, nowadays, I’m actually kind of tired (if not physically, then emotionally) by the time I get to 9pm. Nightttime writing wasn’t doing nearly as well as afternoon writing.

Soooo… when this weekend turned out not to be the time haven I had hoped, it cemented the growing sense I had that Nanowrimoing this month wasn’t the best use of my time and energy. (It also turned out that the planned 50k novel I was working on was turning into a 200k novel, so even sticking with it for November wouldn’t have left me with a complete manuscript, further delaying Nine Dead Suns rewrite and my start on the CCC novel.)

Does this mean that I’m not going to keep writing? No. The Nano charts are up for all of November, and I thought I could use that to track my progress on the NDS rewrite, which is going to require a lot more sui generis writing than I had expected back at the beginning of October. It’s also going to take a little pressure off of my 12/31/10 NDS deadline.

But whence Ace Archer? I mean, I’ve got 75 pages of writing done on him already, and he’s not even in space yet! Well, I’m certainly not going to give up on him. I did find, happily, that the concept retained its excitement for me, even if the actual section I was working on wasn’t coming together. I also realized that I don’t want to write him in the barrel-through method of Nanowrimo. I actually want to go back as things occur to me and fix the early parts of the book, rather than come back at a complete but damaged manuscript once all is done. When will I get back to it? Don’t know. Possibly in conjunction with writing CCC, or as a vacationy alternate to whatever I’m writing. I can read 200 comic series monthly and keep track of them, I can surely write two things and keep track, right? Squirrel!

It’ll also mean that I’m not stressing Kay out (who’s already going through her own stressy period) by operating at half-efficiency around the house and through school. Now, come January, you can all remind her of my sacrifice and guilt me up some good writing time then.

So, while 2010 turns out to be another Nano defeat, it’s not entirely a bad one. Keep watching my Nano page for word counts and nagging me about getting stuff done.

Doug

Tomorrow (or whenever): I want to tell you about my next reading project and invite others to join a little cabal I have in mind… (and I still owe Jen a shout-out, which I promise I will get to!)

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